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One of the first things I noticed about Madrid was the preponderance of statues. There are statues everywhere. There are two things that pop out to the casual observer: round-points, which occur every block on some streets, and statues and/or fountains, which are often in the centre of those round-points.

The first statue I saw was this Bronze Midas in the airport (note: I named him myself. He and his luggage were both unlabelled). Apparently, this man had also just missed bus 894 on a cold winter Saturday evening, only he didn’t have hyper-animated twins sword-fighting in front of him and bumping into him and climbing on his lap, so he froze. It’s a sad tale, and they set him up as a caution to others. Now, everything he touches turns to ice, I explained to Abel.


What amused me most was how he was set up; just staring at a wall. The patron saint of bored travelers? I dunno.


Then, we walked outside to see this lady in all her glory, as my mother would say. I was curious so I went to look at the sign, and explained to Ilsa that this was supposed to be Europa, being carried away by Zeus in the form of a donkey. (Supposed to be a bull but come on; you’re telling me a Spaniard couldn’t do a better bull than that? They do a better rendition in every souvenir shop!)


Ilsa was unimpressed. “I thought Europa was supposed to be pretty,” she said.

“I suppose the sculptor thinks she is,” I said.

“He must be Mauritanian then,” she replied. Which cracked me up.

Driving down the long main street of Torrejon, we passed many round points and statues, one of a torso rising out of concrete waves, another vaguely human in shape and sort of dancing, I would say. All those years of Art History studies weren’t wasted on me!

Of course, downtown Madrid had lots of statues too. This one was a king.



This is a famous image of Madrid, a bear and a tree. For some reason, I saw fit to snap it with lots of people around it.


We wandered around a bit and saw some churches…


and some other statues…


and the museum of ham.


You get the idea.

So why do you think the Spanish are so fond of statues? City beautification? A predeliction for playing with stone? Any thoughts?

February 2009

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